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Simpsons Staff Commit Crime Against Humanity

Seriously, I think they should be taken to The Hague for this :

Okay, I know that switching the show to HD means that a new title sequence is necessary. But did they have to do such a completely rotten job? I mean, is Mr Burns really a less important character than Disco Stu, the Texan oil baron and the crazy cat lady?

Still, at least this means there's no longer any pretence that it's still the same show.

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I see what you mean, watching that it just felt… wrong. And not because it was different from what I’m used to but because the whole feel felt off.

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By Zagrebo
February 16, 2009 @ 12:27 pm

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And that laboured, wacky sofa gag doesn’t help matters, either. It’s like they’re saying “well the main titles sequence has to stay true to the pattern of the historical version, but HERE, with the sofa gag: this is where we’re REALLY takin’ ya!!”

Strange how knowing the titles sequence seems to be now, too. I can’t quite place how, but there seems to be something deeply parodic about the whole thing, with the characters looking at times as though they know how familiar their previous title sequence has become, and are kind of loving it. Oh yeah baby, here’s me stepping out of my car and quite soon I’m going to go “d’oh” when the bike comes like you love. I can’t tell whether I’m imagining these things or whether there’s something subtle about the timing that creates this effect.

I agree with the lack of Mr Burns as well, as Bart slowly, gratuitously swerves his bike around all those minor characters I’ve never seen before (I haven’t watched properly since series 9). All the characters that I recognise, apart from the ones appearing prior to the blackboard gag, are buried in the burst of “crowd” that lasts for less than a second. Quite a strange emphasis, which I can only understand if they intend to keep changing the people who appear in that bus stop queue from episode to episode. In fact all the new bits (eg. Grandpa in the car), all seem a tad temporary and open to variation to me (like the blackboard gag). Somehow I can’t quite yet accept the additions as mainstays.

By J Clark
February 16, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

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Yeah, I see why they changed it, but a lot of it doesn’t seam right to me. For instance Homer actually getting hit by the car doesn’t work, and kind of ruins the joke in a sense (they already got away with it with the Halloween episodes, but that was just so they could all “die” for that scene).

Also, why does Bart still make a kicking motion on his skateboard? The plutonium (or whatever the hell it is that Homer throws out the car) isn’t there for him to kick away anymore, so what is he kicking?

By Mjn Seifer
February 16, 2009 @ 8:33 pm

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My least favourite thing about it is probably the fact that Marge no longer sighs with relief when she sees Maggie in the bag. In fact, she has hardly any motion at all in that shot.

More generally, the whole thing is illustrative of something I’ve noticed a lot (and not just in recent Simpsons) when cel animation has gone through some sort of digital process: a certain “too smooth, and yet too stiff” look to the motion that’s hard to describe.

I think there are a range of techniques that cause this effect, and I’m not sure what they all are (“tweening” in Flash, maybe?), but for me it’s most noticeable when they incorporate 3D models into hand-drawn scenes.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with using 3D models for elements that are hard to animate purely traditionally, like angular machinery or swooping camera motions: in Futurama such shots stood out but still kinda suited the futuristic aesthetic, and IIRC in Belleville Rendezvous/The Triplets of Belleville the CG bikes looked fantastic.

But in this case, the motion of Homer’s car pulling into the drive, and then him opening the door, just really sticks out due to being jarringly smooth, I’m not sure if it’s genuinely a badly-incorporated 3D model, or if it’s only this noticable because I’m so familiar with the way the programme used to be, or if I’m actively looking for things to criticise because New Simpsons Is Bad.

Finally, as Alex W pointed out on Rllmuk: “I think any opening sequence which is remade in HD, gives the characters a new HDTV to emphasise the fact, and clearly depicts them using composite video cables, has failed deeply.”


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By Nick R
February 17, 2009 @ 12:56 am

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The new episode? UGH.

Another retconned version of the continuity, where Marge & Homer seemingly are at high school in the 1980s (Homer says “twenty-two years ago,” at one point), thus nullifying the previous eighteen years of stories, and at best making the stuff about his hippy mother nonsensical.

Except the prom in the episode appears to still be in the 1970s.

It’s a mess.

And not very funny either. Not a bad episode - the plot seems fairly decent, but any jokes in there were lost to me, so irritated was I with the change of continuity.

I’m all for messing with things that have gone before, but certain things should remain fixed; Homer & Marge met at school in the 70s, Bart & Lisa were born in the 1980s. It doesn’t matter that they’ve not aged - just some things should remain as they have in the previous eighteen series.

By thr0b
February 17, 2009 @ 1:16 am

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To me it looked a bit like a really exceptionally slick fan-made production (“omg look at all these references! They’re from all over the show’s history, I didn’t even remember [this reference] lololool! Im glad you didn’t put in Burns cos hes soooo mean, I dont like him, Oh and also it was cool that you gave the Simpsons an updated TV”). But I suppose one could argue that that’s sort of what it is now, isn’t it?

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By Meg
February 17, 2009 @ 8:19 am

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